Mini Reviews: Authors I’m Just Getting To in 2023, Part 1 (Singh, Cowles, Devon, Fortune, Wilder)

I did a Top Ten Tuesday post earlier this year titled Ten Authors I Want to Try in 2023. That post inspired me to request a bunch of those authors’ audiobooks from my local library and borrow a couple from KU. Here are reviews for the books I’ve listened to and read so far.

Rock Addiction
Series: Rock Kiss, #1
Author: Nalini Singh
Narrator: Justine O. Keef

Publication Date: September 9, 2014
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★  

My thoughts: 

I’ve been wanting to read something by Nalini Singh for a while now, so when I saw this book available on audio from my library, I was excited. There was a lot of potential for a great story. So where did things go wrong for me then? Sex scenes in books don’t bother me, but half of this book was sex scenes. Here’s a little story…sex scene, repeat. It got so I didn’t even feel true chemistry between Molly and Fox anymore because I didn’t have enough content to believe they had an emotional connection between them. It also didn’t help that as the book went on Molly became more and more annoying. And this book went on and on. I don’t know if it was just because I was listening to it, but I felt ready to be done with it around 75% in. It was just Molly’s insecurities and sex scenes over and over. I actually started to fast forward through the sex scenes at that point so I could just get the story and to the end. Also, this book was written in third person and that didn’t do it any favors either.

Beautifully Broken Pieces
Series: Sutter Lake, #1
Author: Catherine Cowles
Narrators: Maxine Mitchell, Aaron Shedlock

Publication Date: February 25, 2019
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

My thoughts: 

I’ve wanted to read Cowles’ books for a while because her covers always call to me, but I’ve been scared because of how emotional I’ve heard they are. Plus, Tanya is always raving about them and Cowles’ writing. And she’s right. Cowles’ writing is great. There is just the right amount of angst and emotions without going overboard. I enjoyed listening to this book. The romance was sweet. Taylor and Walker were great characters along with all the fun side characters there to support them. I kind of guessed where the romantic suspense plot was going, but I was anticipating one last twist. Overall, this was a strong introduction to Cowles’ writing for me. I can’t wait to continue listening to the series.

Bend Toward the Sun
Author: Jen Devon
Narrators: Erin Mallon, Chris Brinkley
Publication Date: August 2, 2022
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ 

My thoughts: 

All of my reader friends have been singing praises for Bend Toward the Sun since its release, so I decided to listen to it. I can’t decide if that was a good decision or bad one. Reflecting back on the experience, despite the fantastic narrators, I might have had a better experience had I read the book instead. The third person, flowery writing style wasn’t always the easiest to follow when listening. I also got thrown off a bit by all the other characters backstories that made me wonder if I missed previous books. In other words, I got too much information. That being said, I still enjoyed listening to Bend Toward the Sun. I loved the story and romance at the heart of it. Rowan and Harry were broken characters who were rewarding to see heal and learn to love again. They weren’t perfect and neither was their relationship, but there was beauty in that. I especially loved the setting and how it brought the story and romance to life. Jen Devon wrote an impressive debut novel that I’m hoping becomes a series.

Every Summer After
Author: Carley Fortune
Narrator: A.J. Bridel
Publication Date: May 10, 2022
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

My thoughts: 

This isn’t really a mini review, but I wanted to include it since this book was in my original post to try.

I didn’t have any expectations going into Every Summer After. I had heard some drama surrounding it, but maybe that only made me more curious. In the end, I have some mixed feelings about this book.

The positives: engaging writing from a debut author, intriguing storyline, great characters, fun setting, and great audiobook narration.

The negatives: not enough time in the present to not feel like a YA book, and a plot twist I couldn’t stomach but in a weird way understood.

The in between: It’s been said before, but the structure of the story and plot are similar to a very popular romance novel. While I think this book stands on its own and is unique enough, the comparisons will bother some people. It had been so long since I had read the other book that I honestly didn’t feel the comparison much.

Overall, I really enjoyed listening to this book until that plot twist. It left a bitter taste in my mouth and almost ruined the book for me. That being said, I was impressed by this debut and I’m excited to read Fortune’s upcoming new release.

How to Fake it in Hollywood
Author: Ava Wilder
Narrators: Andrew Eiden, Thérèse Plummer

Publication Date: June 14, 2022
Publisher: Randon House Audio
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ 

My thoughts: 

This book started out strong for me. I loved the writing and the fake relationship trope seemed like it was going well. Then, I really got to know the characters. Grey was likable, but she had some big personality swings a couple of times that felt like they came out of nowhere. Ethan was an alcoholic and no one close to him seemed to acknowledge it. His abuse of alcohol really brought my enjoyment of this book down. Ethan’s problems were so frustrating with all the support he should have had around him. I also felt like this book dragged on way longer than it should have. That being said, I did feel pulled to the story and enjoyed the narrators.

Review: So Close (Sylvia Day)

So Close
Series: Blacklist, #1
Author: Sylvia Day

Publication Date: March 28, 2023
Publisher: Ronin House
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Erotica, Fiction, Romantic Suspense
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Crossfire® saga comes the beginning of a twisty tale of obsession and rage, as a trinity of women protect what they covet at any cost.

You can’t believe all of them, but can you trust any of them?

Widower Kane Black is still ruinously married to his late wife, Lily. Grief has hollowed him… until he sees a woman with his wife’s inimitable beauty on the streets of Manhattan. He whisks her up to his towering penthouse, protectively under guard, nestling her in dark opulence where Lily’s memory is a possessive beguiling force.

Aliyah, Kane’s mother, deals in science. There are too many questions, too few answers, and too much at stake. “Lily” has dangerous control over Kane and there can be only one queen on the throne.

Amy, Kane’s sister-in-law, has been bloodied by deceit and betrayal, and she’s devolving into murderous rage. She’s paid too high a price and now intends to claim what she’s owed.

Three women, linked by buried secrets, circle the man who unquestioningly accepts the return of his beloved long-dead wife. Kane is happier than he’s ever been, and he’ll do anything to stay that way.

Propulsive and sly, So Close is a lushly gothic novel of domestic suspense with the emotional intensity, scorching sensuality, and complex exploration of female trauma that are the hallmarks of multimillion-copy international bestseller Sylvia Day.

I’m going to be honest. I didn’t even read the blurb before picking up this book. I saw Sylvia Day’s name as the author and jumped right in. I’m glad I did because So Close was fantastic. It kept my mind reeling trying to figure everything out. In general, this is a romantic suspense/mystery about a notable man’s wife who returns from the dead and how it impacts his life, his family, and their empire. It’s a crazy, fun ride filled with drama. I don’t know how to review it other than to give you a little insight into who the narrators of the story are and what I thought of them.

WITTE: Kane’s trusty employee. His observations helped set the story up and added a non-female look into Kane’s life. He seems trustworthy.

AMY: Kane’s sister-in-law who is obsessed with him in an obviously unhealthy way. She gave me so much secondhand embarrassment when it came to her thoughts and actions. I felt sorry for her as much as I disliked her.

ALIYAH: Kane’s mother. She was desperately trying to control her entire family and their company. I hated this woman. I thought she was evil except for a couple of moments when I wondered if she was right to be concerned about certain things.

LILY: Kane’s wife who has returned from the dead. She was the most interesting and important character. Not only because of the way she thought about Kane, but because she is truly what kept me guessing and wondering. I was surprised that I liked her so much and wanted her to come out on top of anything and everything when it came to Kane and his family.

I keep mentioning Kane because the story revolves around him, but interesting enough we never get his POV. Everything we know about him, and his actions comes from these four people – and three of them may or may not be unreliable narrators. (I’m still trying to figure that unreliable thing out.) It made me even more curious about what is going through his head and the decisions he makes. I really loved that. I’m hoping we get his POV in the second book.

I have so many, many questions that were not answered in So Close that I’m anxiously awaiting answered. I cannot wait to read Too Far. I took my time reading So Close because I didn’t want to miss out on any detail. I hope Day can wrap this story up in the same way she crafted this first book because it was excellent and kept me guessing.

Review: Bayou Beloved (Lexi Blake)

Bayou Beloved
Series: Butterfly Bayou, #6
Author: Lexi Blake

Publication Date: March 28, 2023
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½


When a woman returns home to Louisiana’s Butterfly Bayou, her high school crush finally notices she exists, in a small-town contemporary romance from New York Times bestselling author Lexi Blake.

Quaid Havery always planned to follow in his father’s footsteps. He went to law school and then came home to take over his dad’s legal practice. Being the only lawyer in small-town Papillon, Quaid is pretty sure he’s seen everything. After all, he was once asked to sue an alligator for defamation of character. He’s prepared for anything the town can throw at him, until he encounters Jayna Cardet. She’s gorgeous, smart, funny, and unlike any woman he’s met before….Except he has.

Jayna never thought she’d return to Papillon, but when her life gets turned around she must learn to live in the close-knit community again. She certainly never dreamed she would practice law in her little town, but she finds herself in the courtroom, and the opposing counsel is her former high school crush, Quaid. It wouldn’t be so bad if the man had developed a beer belly, but Quaid is more handsome than ever. And instead of ignoring her like he did in high school, he’s made it plain that he wants to get to know her.

Thus begins a courtship destined to end in a wedding or a war. Either way, the locals are popping some corn and eagerly awaiting the outcome.

I was excited to read more from Lexi Blake’s Butterfly Bayou series after having read and loved the fifth book in the series, Bayou Sweetheart. Bayou Beloved wasn’t the instant hit with me that the fifth book was. While I enjoyed a large part of it, there were some things that didn’t work as well for me.

I had a little bit of trouble connecting with the story from the beginning. My first impression of Jayna wasn’t exactly positive. Until I got to know her background and her motives better, I didn’t care for her. Quaid, on the other hand, I loved right away. I ended up loving their banter, their courtroom battles, and how their connection through work brought them closer together. I also loved how everything came together for them in the end.

What I didn’t love was harder to pinpoint. There were lots of pieces to this romance. Maybe too many? Both Jayna and Quaid had family issues.  Quaid’s brother brought trouble around. There was the drama with Jayna’s past and her work. It was all interesting, but it made the pacing of the story feel off to me. Sometimes it was fast, and I was pulled in. Other times it was slow, and I struggled to keep reading. That had an effect on my enjoyment of the book.

Overall, this was a good small-town romance. The small town really shined. I’m interested to see where the series goes next. I hope Jayna’s sister and Quaid’s friend will get a sweet romance.

Review: Addicted for Now (Krista & Becca Ritchie)

Addicted for Now
Series: Addicted, #2

Authors: Krista & Becca Ritchie
Publication Date: March 21, 2023 (First published November 29, 2013)
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


The TikTok sensation Addicted series continues with Addicted For Now, now in a print edition with special bonus material!

He’s addicted to booze. She’s addicted to sex…staying sober is only half the battle.

No. More. Sex.

Those are the three words Lily Calloway fears the most. But Loren Hale is determined to be with Lily without enabling her dangerous compulsions. With their new living situation—sleeping in the same bed, for real, together—Lily has new battles. Like not jumping Lo’s bones every night. Not being consumed by sex and his body.

Loren plans to stay sober, to right all of his wrongs. So when someone threatens to expose Lily’s secret to her family and the public, he promises that he’ll do anything to protect her. But with old enemies surfacing, Lo has more at stake than his sobriety.

And his worst fear isn’t relapsing. He hears the end. He sees it. The one thing that could change everything. Just three words.

No. More. Us.

I originally read Addicted for Now back in 2016. After re-reading it, I went back and read my original review for the book. It still stands. I didn’t need to change a thing. That review is what’s going to follow this initial paragraph. What I’m going to mention prior is what I thought of the bonus material that’s a new addition to this traditionally published new edition. I have to say, it’s the best new bonus material of the series so far. The new chapter was a look at Connor and Rose’s first date. It made me miss this couple so much! It was totally them. There was also a playlist that didn’t really do much for me because I’m not a playlist person and then a chapter of fun text exchanges that I enjoyed. Now, let’s get to my review for the continuation of Lily and Lo’s romance!

Reunited and it feels so good…

Well, yes and no. Lo’s returned to Lily, which I love, but the two have some new obstacles challenging them in Addicted for Now. Lily’s been dealing with her addiction in Lo’s absence, but his return adds another temptation into the mix. She has to let go and trust Lo to take care of her needs. If that wasn’t enough, someone knows Lily’s secret and is threatening to tell.

I love, love, love how this series is evolving. Lo and Lily are still dealing with their addictions, but I felt more hopeful for them. There was still some angst and suspense, but there was also time to relax and enjoy. They’ve both grown so much and, while things aren’t perfect, their story has started to become more than just their addictions. Lo and Lily are in a sweet recovery period where they’re allowing themselves to be happy — for a moment. Lo’s taking his recovery seriously, and also stepping up to help Lily deal with hers. He’s putting helping her with her addiction before both of their sexual desires and saying no when he needs to. There’s a surprising tenderness to their relationship that I really love.

I also really loved the whole trip to Mexico setting. It threw all of the characters into different, awkward situations. It brought them closer together and showcased more of their personalities. I loved that the book gave me the opportunity to know Ryke, Daisy, Connor and Rose even better. It made me excited to read the next couple of books where they’re the main characters.

This book wasn’t all fun and games, though. There was still tons of drama in the story. Everything comes crashing down with the sinister revelation to the world that Lily is a sex addict. It’s sad and devastating to everyone. All of the characters are scrambling to find the evil person who tipped off the press.

Addicted for Now continued my obsession with the Addicted series. I loved the way the story and characters evolved. It was an awesome addition to this series and made me even more excited for what’s to come in the next book.

Review: The Wedding Ringer (Kerry Rea)

The Wedding Ringer
Author: Kerry Rea

Publication Date: November 9, 2021
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Women’s Fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


A woman who wants nothing to do with love or friendship finds both in the unlikeliest ways in this hilarious and heartwarming debut by Kerry Rea.

Once upon a time, Willa Callister was a successful blogger with a good credit score, actual hobbies, and legs that she shaved more than once a month. But after finding her fiancé in bed with her best friend, she now spends her days performing at children’s birthday parties in a ball gown that makes her look like a walking bottle of Pepto Bismol. Willa dreams of starting fresh, where no one knows who she used to be, but first she needs to save up enough money to make it happen.

Maisie Mitchell needs something too: another bridesmaid for her wedding. After a chance encounter at a coffee shop, Maisie offers to pay Willa to be in her bridal party. Willa wants nothing to do with weddings–or Maisie–but the money will give her the freedom to start the new life she so badly desires.

Willa’s bridesmaid duties thrust her into Maisie’s high-energy world and into the path of hotshot doctor Liam Rafferty. But as Willa and Maisie form a real friendship, and Liam’s annoyingly irresistible smile makes her reconsider her mantra that all men are trash, Willa’s exit strategy becomes way more complicated. And when a secret from Maisie’s past threatens to derail the wedding, Willa must consider whether friendship–and romance–are worth sticking around for.

I adored The Wedding Ringer. It was a romance with a side of women’s fiction. Or maybe it’s opposite. Whatever it was, it was perfect. Willa was a woman who was decimated by love and friendship all at once. She was wallowing in self-pity in an embarrassing way. I could feel her loss and sense of grief. I, along with her sister and everyone else around her, was waiting for Willa to find her way back to herself. Meeting and becoming Maisie’s secret, paid bridesmaid gave her something to focus on and a future to look forward to. I loved how that one meeting started a chain of events that changed everything for Willa and gave her hope and friendship again. That made me happy because Willa had a great sense of humor and was truly a friend I would want on by my side.

Meeting Maisie also put Liam in her path. Liam was a great guy. He was very sweet to Willa, which put her in a precarious situation when she was keeping something big from him. I loved how Liam made Willa believe in love again. Her reactions to her attraction to him was cute. I loved how their relationship built, even in the moments when things got a little hairy.

One of the things that made this book so fantastic were the side characters. Willa’s sister, her wife, and their brood were there supporting Willa along her journey. I loved the little bits of insight they tried to give her. Same with the elderly lady next door. She was a lot of fun. Then there was the people Willa met through Maisie. Her other bridesmaids made me laugh. Maisie’s fiancé seemed like a great guy, and I loved how his mother was involved. Heck, I’ll even throw in Max and Sarah. I loved hating them.

There’s a lot I haven’t touched on yet. Maisie’s got a secret. I was only a little surprised by it, but I enjoyed how it influenced Willa and the story. I briefly mentioned the paid bridesmaid thing above. That part of the story was really fun. I’ve only read a couple of books with a paid bridesmaid and this one stands out from those by the nature of the rest of the story. I’m sure there’s more to talk about, but I think I’ll just leave those things for you to find out yourself.

I have to thank Ari for recommending The Wedding Ringer in my slumpy time of need. It was a fabulous book with a great plot, entertaining characters, and a sweet romance to root for. I cannot believe it is Rea’s debut! I am so excited to read her second book next.

Review: The Love Wager (Lynn Painter)

The Love Wager
Author: Lynn Painter

Publication Date: March 14, 2023
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


Hallie Piper is turning over a new leaf. After belly-crawling out of a hotel room (hello, rock bottom), she decides it’s time to become a full-on adult.

She gets a new apartment, a new haircut, and a new wardrobe, but when she logs into the dating app that she has determined will find her new love, she sees none other than Jack, the guy whose room she’d snuck out of.

Through the app, and after the joint agreement that they are absolutely not interested in each other, Jack and Hallie become partners in their respective searches for The One. They text each other about their dates, often scheduling them at the same restaurant so that if things don’t go well, the two of them can get tacos afterward.

Spoiler: they get a lot of tacos together.

Discouraged by the lack of prospects, Jack and Hallie make a wager to see who can find true love first, but when they agree to be fake dates for a weekend wedding, all bets are off.

As they pretend to be a couple, lines become blurred and they each struggle to remember why the other was a bad idea to begin with.

I could not wait for The Love Wager to release after reading Mr. Wrong Number. Jack was a side character in the latter and the preview at the end had me excited for his book. I knew it was going to be a great story and it was! I LOVED IT!! It had me from the very beginning and I was highly entertained throughout the entire book.

Lynn Painter does a fantastic job at writing romantic comedies. There were so many funny moments. The banter between awkward one-night stand turned best friends Hallie and Jack was hilarious. Their text messages were especially funny, but so were their interactions in real life. I loved how they got each other and all of their taco nights after trying to date other people. Things got even better between the two of them when Jack became Hallie’s fake wedding weekend date.

This book made me swoon so hard! It was a true rom-com when so many touted as such these days are fakers. I would highly recommend it. This review doesn’t do it justice because I was so into the romance, I didn’t make one note! I just devoured it. That’s high praise.

Review: Right Man, Right Time (Meghan Quinn)

Right Man, Right Time
Series: The Vancouver Agitators, #3
Author: Meghan Quinn

Publication Date: March 7, 2023
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Comedy, Sports Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 


From author Meghan Quinn, comes a new fake dating, standalone sports romance featuring the hockey men you can’t get enough of. This steamy, age-gap romantic comedy will bring all the laughs while making your cheeks blush at the same time.

Running into your ex is never ideal.
Running into your ex who is now dating your nemesis is a literal nightmare.

That’s how I found myself in a sheer panic, reaching for the closest guy at the bar and kissing him. And to my delight he was easily the most attractive man I’ve ever seen.

The only problem is, when I tried to walk away after thanking him for his help, he stopped me with three life-changing words . . .

“You owe me.”

That’s how I found myself, a college girl, in a fake relationship with a professional hockey player ten years older than me.

At first it was easy.
He helped me with my internship.
I helped keep his ex away from him.
We were becoming fast friends.

It wasn’t until he started staying the night at my dorm did the rules of our arrangement become complicated.

Now my feelings are involved and even though I kissed the right man at the right time, I’m worried he’s just waiting for the clock to run out.

Meghan Quinn’s indie sports romances are my reading happy place. Right Man, Right Time just took over as my favorite of them all. I think I’ve been saying that with every new Meghan Quinn release, but I can’t help myself! They somehow keep getting better and better! Here are my thoughts on Right Man, Right Time. 

Meghan Quinn’s writing is just so fun and hilarious. I laughed so hard I had tears in my eyes several times. This book was true romantic comedy gold. I loved the way she set up the story and the big personalities she gave the characters. But a warning to her Montlake published readers: Quinn’s indies are steamier and that is very true of this one. 

Right Man, Right Time was a silly, sexy, fighting their feeling slow-ish burn until it was fast forward, age gap, fake dating romantic comedy. Ollie is a young woman who is not going to let the man who broke up with her think she’s still pining after him. That leads to her kissing a random man in a bar. A random man who happens to be a famous professional hockey player. Silas has also been burned by love and he also doesn’t want his ex to think he’s pining for her. The crazy chick from the bar who kissed him is just the person he needs to help by playing his girlfriend. I loved how Quinn wove this story.

I absolutely adored Ollie and Silas (or Taters, if that helps you remember him from the two previous books in this series). Silas was a little moody and still hurting from his ex’s betrayal. Ollie was this big, bright personality. She was hilarious and brought Silas some much needed levity to his life.

This is one of the best portrayals of age gap I’ve seen. Ollie truly came off as a 21-year-old while Silas felt much older at 31. I loved how that impacted their fake relationship and the real one that developed. The fake relationship had some great comedic moments. Ollie sure knew how to make things awkward for Silas. I loved how the fake relationship turned into a real friendship which then turned into a great real relationship. These two truly got to know each other and build a connection over the course of the book. It also helped that their chemistry and passion between them were off the charts. The intensity and attraction truly felt like two people starting a relationship.

The enemies in this book were fun to hate, especially Sarah. Plus, the Agitators gang was all back for this one. It was fun to see the guys through Silas’s eyes. I loved how they banded around Silas and tried to help him out or gave him a hard time. Ollie also had a great best friend, Ross.  The of them together were a handful. Then, there were the surprise cameos from some beloved Quinn characters outside of the series. They added perfectly to the story.

As funny as this book was, there was also some much-expected drama. I loved how it was done in this book. It felt like something that could really happen. I know some readers hate on third act break ups, but I actually love them. They’re less stressful for me, and I like getting all that buildup time with the couple before everything gets messed up.

Meghan Quinn has done it again! I absolutely loved every second I spent reading this book. I actually took it slow for once and didn’t gobble it up because I wanted to spend more time with the characters. I can’t wait for the next book in the series. I hope it’s coming sooner than later!

Mini Reviews: Meet Hate Love (Cole) & More Than I Could (Locke)

I’m back with another post of recently released mini reviews.

Meet Hate Love
Author: Stevie J. Cole
Publication Date: January 19, 2023
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Comedy

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

My thoughts:

This was my first time reading anything from Stevie J. Cole. It was recommended for readers who like Max Monroe. I’m a Max Monroe fan, so I one clicked this book. It was even better than I expected. I laughed so hard. The work enemies dynamic between Blake and Vance was so much fun. The trip they ended up on together was hilarious and there were lots of fireworks when these two finally acted on their attraction. This book even managed to surprise me when I wasn’t expecting it. I had such a great time reading Meet Hate Love that I can’t wait to check out Cole’s backlist. I’m hoping there is a book for Theo or one coming soon. I would highly recommend this romance to anyone who enjoys Max Monroe and Meghan Quinn’s indie romances.

More Than I Could
Author: Adriana Locke
Publication Date: February 27, 2023
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ 

My thoughts:

This book didn’t work out for me the way I wanted it to. I was really into the first half and then started to get a bit bored until closer to the end. It was funny and I liked the friendships Megan formed with Chase’s family. The way she was with his daughter was perfect. The thing that was not so perfect was how everything resolved in the end. Megan and Chase’s time together was so little for there to be such a big ending.

Mini Reviews: The Baby Blitz (Martin), Keeping You (Reynolds), Glove Save (Hunter)

February saw a bunch of new romance releases. Here are mini reviews for a few of them that I read.

The Baby Blitz
Series: Varsity Dads, #3
Author: Lex Martin
Publication Date: February 21, 2023
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Sports Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

My thoughts:

When I saw that Martin was releasing a third book in the Varsity Dads series, I had to admit my first thought was how many players on the same college football team could end up having babies and how many different situations could there really be? I had to laugh because even Olly had a similar thought in this book. Martin did a great job coming up with a completely different situation. This time it’s an unplanned pregnancy for Magnolia and Olly, which was highly entertaining because they didn’t really like each other prior to said pregnancy. It was fun to see them navigate through all the ups and downs of being pregnant in college and what they had to deal with on the friend, ex, sibling, teammate, coach side of things. I ended up loving these two “enemies” together and the family they created. I’m excited to find out what is next in Charlie’s book.

Keeping You
Series: Until Him/Her, #12.5; 1001 Dark Nights
Author: Aurora Rose Reynold
Publication Date: February 21, 2023
Publisher: 1001 Dark Nights Press
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

My thoughts:

The last 2 books I read by this author weren’t my favorite of hers. I was happy to see Keeping You was closer to the style of the ones I have loved. There was obvious chemistry between Noah and Bridgett, and it had ARR’s insta-love feel, but it was almost a slow burn where her books are concerned. Which is surprising to say since this was a novella. There was a lot packed into this short romance. Bridgett was dealing with a nasty divorce and Noah was trying not act on his impulses where she was concerned due to his friendship with her brother. But in ARR fashion… BOOM! They were fated to fall in love. I guess my biggest complaint was that I wish this was a full-length romance so that I got more time with Noah and Bridgett, especially after they gave into their feelings for each other so I could really get behind them as a couple. I also couldn’t decide how I felt about the timeline of the divorce, but that’s something I guess I haven’t thought about before to know my thoughts on it. Anyways. Don’t let the 3.5 stars make you think I didn’t enjoy reading this quick romance, I did.

Glove Save
Series: The Carolina Comets, #6
Author: Teagan Hunter
Publication Date: February 23, 2023
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Sports Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

My thoughts:

I feel like I’ve been waiting for Glove Save from the minute I finished the last book in this series, and it was well worth the wait. Jacob Greer was the perfect grumpy “I don’t believe in love” hockey player. Stevie was a no-nonsense mom who would do anything for her kid. She couldn’t stand Greer until she was practically in love with him. Macie was a sassy, hockey obsessed ten-year-old whose coach/player relationship with Geer could have stolen the show. I loved Greer and Macie’s interactions so much! Greer, Stevie, and Macie made a great unit. This entire romance was a joy to read. Six books into this series and I can’t get enough of it. I am glad there is at least one more book to come.

Review: Hail Mary (Kandi Steiner)

Hail Mary
Series: Red Zone Rivals, #4
Author: Kandi Steiner

Publication Date: February 15, 2023
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Sports Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ 


Leo F*cking Hernandez.

North Boston University’s star running back, notorious bachelor, and number one on my people I would murder if I could get away with it list.

And now?
He’s my new roommate.

I used to think I loved him.
But that was before I hated him.

He doesn’t remember who I am, or how he made my life miserable for years. And before I unknowingly moved across the street from him, I couldn’t have cared less. I was living my life despite him and what happened that summer, chasing my dream of becoming a tattoo artist.

“The Pit,” as the university so gracefully nicknamed the house he lives in with three other football players, has served as nothing more than a pain in my ass and a constant reminder of the boy who broke my heart. Watching him parade his one-night-stands in and out of it never helped, either.

But with rent this cheap and so close to the tattoo shop, I’ve learned to ignore him — no matter how he’s tried to get under my skin.

At least, until this summer. Because when a water and mold disaster leaves me with no choice but to vacate my house, I have nowhere to go. And Leo Hernandez offers me a deal I can’t refuse.

Live at The Pit with him and the guys, free of charge, until my landlord fixes this mess.

Ignoring him was easy when I lived across the street, but in the same house, with him shirtless half the time and watching me with his cocky grin and searing gaze? It’s impossible.

Still, I have to try. I have to push him away, even when he makes it infuriatingly difficult to do so.

He’s broken my heart once.
I won’t let him do it again.

Having read the last three books in the series, I was well aware of Mary’s hate for Leo. I was curious to find out what brought on such intense emotions from her. Steiner lays it all out for us in the first chapters of this book, and Mary had every right to hate him. I had a hard time reading these chapters. It made me lose some respect for Leo, but I also understood that fitting in during high school is everything. Teenagers make bad decisions and mistakes. It made me wonder how he would be able to redeem himself to both me and Mary.

I really enjoyed how this book was set up by putting Mary and Leo as roommates in the same house. The way she got to know all the football roommates was fun and I loved seeing them break down her football player hating ways. It was even sweeter when it was Leo making Mary question her dislike of him. I kind of wished she wouldn’t have kept why she hated him bottled up for so long, but the explosion made it worth it.

Mary and Leo were fire together. Their chemistry could not be denied, and neither could their emotional connection. These two went deep into their feelings with and for each other. I wasn’t a huge fan of the problem that came up for them and some of the resolution felt a little farfetched for this book, but it all worked out in a good way in the end.

Hail Mary turned out to be a great addition to this angsty new adult football series and a strong way to end it. I will miss these couple and characters.